Partial Import Recommendation


Today’s Question: My new camera allows me to shoot at 20 frames per second. Following a few birds recently, I quickly amassed over 700 images. In Lightroom Classic, can I select just my favorite few for import and discard the rest, while not overburdening my hard drive capacity?

Tim’s Quick Answer: It is possible to selectively import only certain photos from a memory card into Lightroom Classic. However, in general I recommend importing all photos and then reviewing them and deleting the unwanted outtakes.

More Detail: As a rule, I strongly recommend importing all photos from a memory card into Lightroom Classic as one overall process, rather than importing only some photos from a media card. You can then delete outtakes, adjust folder structure, or otherwise manage those photos. This approach helps to streamline your overall workflow and helps to ensure you photos are backed up and you don’t overlook any photos for eventual import.

Having said that, you most certainly can choose to import only some of the photos on a media card or other source of photos as part of the import process. The basic idea is that only photos that have the checkbox turned on at the top-left of the thumbnail when in the grid view display for the Import dialog will actually be imported.

Therefore, you can simply turn off the checkbox for photos you don’t want to import. If you only want to import a small portion of the photos in the selected source, you can click the “Uncheck All” button at the bottom-left of the Import dialog to turn off the checkbox for all photos. You could then turn on the checkbox at the top-left of each thumbnail only for those photos you want to import.

You could also select ranges of photos and turn off (or on) the checkbox for all selected photos at once. You can click on the first thumbnail in the range you want to turn off (or on) the checkbox for, then hold the Shift key on the keyboard while clicking on the last photo in the range. That will select all the photos in that range, and you can then click the checkbox for any of the selected photos to toggle the checkbox for all of the selected photos.

The point is that there are a variety of ways you can ensure that the checkbox is only turned on for the photos you want to import, with the checkbox turned off for the photos you don’t want to import. Adjust all other import settings as desired, and when you click the Import button at the bottom-right of the Import dialog only the images with their checkbox turned on will actually be imported into your catalog.

If you import only a portion of the photos on a media card and then reformat the card, you will have deleted all photos from the card without ever having imported some of the photos from that card into your Lightroom Classic catalog.